Eye sign response by Roger Mortvedt
checking my email last night and came across the Pigeonsport.net
I read several of the articles including EYESIGN-An Alternative
View, by Alan Wheeldon and three of the responses.
The response by Jim Brown was the most challenging to the original
original article says that eye sign is utter rubbish and the response
agrees that 90% of the eye sign theorist’s are not only wrong in their
version of sign but claim to know the “answer” only to fill their
pockets with money and place themselves on some ego-driven pedestal as the
only man in town with the real answer.
So far we are all in agreement.
years ago a pigeon flyer, originally from Australia, came to the United
States. He had written a
detailed book on eye sign. His
claim was that he had traveled all over the world examining and
photographing the eyes of champions.
He had the answer. He
had come across the “speed lines”, the “distance lines”, the
“clusters”, etc. etc. etc. He had irrefutable evidence!
And who could deny him? The
man had been all over the world, seen it all, documented facts, wrote a
book. He was the messiah of
eye sign! He held seminars (for
money). He graded hundreds of
lofts, also for money. What
soon followed, I’m sure, was that hundreds upon hundreds of birds were
destroyed based on this man’s conclusion that these particular pigeons
had no value. Nice.
What also followed over the next few years is that this man took up
residence in a local hotbed of pigeon flyers and began to compete.
His results were less than average.
He continued to race for a few seasons until he raced himself into
obscurity. Did he have the
“answer”? Obviously not.
know of another somewhat tragic example of a man back in the Midwest.
He was somewhat “well to do”, ripe for the kill.
He was selected by another self-proclaimed expert in eye sign to go
to a neighboring country to view some of the greatest racing pigeons in
the world. Only a “select
few” are allowed to visit this loft each year, and this year you are “it”.
What an honor! This
man was allowed to view birds that had the greatest eye sign in the
history of pigeon racing (according to the expert).
I’m sure you can guess the rest.
He spent upwards of $4,000 each for some of these self-proclaimed
“future” champion breeders that never bred a bird worth ten cents.
one more tragic example and then I’ll move on.
A reasonably successful flyer, locally, decided one day that he had
the answer. Eye sign.
He retired from active racing for the following 3 or 4 years to do
some selective breeding amongst his own colony of successful flying
pigeons. He knew, without
question, what the answer was and he was going to breed for it within his
own colony of good pigeons. He
told me, personally, that the first year he bred close to 400 youngsters
and killed all but 10 of them. Those
10 went in to the breeding loft along with his original stock and the next
year he again bred 400 youngsters. This
time he only had to kill 360 of them.
Nice. After 3 or 4
years of this insanity he began flying again.
disaster. He had taken a competitive family from near the top of the
race sheets to near the bottom. Terrific.
many others have taken “theories” to the extreme and destroyed what
was once a competitive family of racing pigeons?
Many I am sure.
author of the response, Jim Brown, while agreeing that most of the eye
sign “experts” are in fact “quacks” (my words), the Pobors and
Bieches as well as a selected few others HAVE THE ANSWER and their racing
records prove it. That may
very well be so and I will not sit here and refute the accomplishments of
these two very highly respected pigeon flyers.
My problem is this, out of the several thousand pigeon flyers all
over the world, tens if not hundreds of who claim to be an eye sign
experts, WHO DO YOU BELIEVE? Is Pete Pobor’s theory the same as Alex Bieche’s?
If not, who is right? I
know very little about Pete Pobor so I won’t tread upon unknown ground
but I do know Alex Bieche. One
thing I know about Mr. Bieche is that he spends a lot of time abroad
bringing in PERFORMANCE PIGEONS as well as children from these race
winners and Ace Pigeons. Is
it because they are proven performance pigeons or is it that they have the
eye sign he is looking for? I
should be seeing Alex pretty soon so I’m going to ask him.
is another thing that bothers me. In
my 40 plus years of flying pigeons I have come in contact, many times,
with various eye sign graders. They
handle the bird, look at the wing, examine the back, and either use an eye
box or eye glass and check out the eyes.
This one’s a breeder, this one’s a flyer, this one’s a
multi-purpose, this one’s junk, kill it.
Never, I repeat, never, has anyone told my WHY the differences in
the eye would or could determine what the bird was capable of doing.
To me, when you look at something and then claim that what you see
is gospel you should also be able to explain WHY.
Is eye sign better eyesight? Is
it superior intelligence? Tell
me, exactly, what it is in this bird’s eye that makes him a breeder, a
flyer, etc. Yes, it’s
something you see but exactly HOW does this change the course of this
pigeon’s racing and breeding potential?
I need to know WHY or I’m not convinced, but that’s me.
sign isn’t the only culprit. How
about wing theory, body type, size, color.
The list goes on. This
bird is too “short”, this one too “long”.
Pull on a bird’s beak, if he resists keep him.
If he doesn’t, cull him. Check
his forearm, that will tell you if he is a short distance or long distance
bird….right. There is no
end to this kind of crap.
brings me to a real life story that I experienced myself about 5 months
ago just after the close of our Concourse Old Bird Races.
We flew a 528 mile race, followed by a very tough 560 mile race.
A couple of weeks after the last race I was visited by a few
neighboring pigeon flyers. I
had won the 528 mile race taking the first 5 in the club and 5 out of 7 in
the concourse. I clocked 5
widowhood cocks in 12 minutes from the 528 and had 2 of only 4 day birds
on the 560. As I was showing
these flyers several of my widowhood cocks I also managed to work in the
birds that had excelled on these particular races.
One guy was an “eye” man.
He liked a couple of them but wasn’t impressed with the others.
Another was a “wing” man.
He liked a couple as well, different ones than the eye man.
Another was a “beak puller” and some of them resisted while
some did not. The 5 cocks
that were ALL Registered AU Champions, multiple race winners or top 1%
clock birds on many occasions from 100-560 miles were ALL JUDGED
DIFFERENTLY. A careful
examination of their race records prove that, in fact, they are all EQUAL.
what is really important? Let
me say this, if you are showing pigeons you must breed for the
“perfect” type, the show “standard” that will get you that 1st
place ribbon or trophy. If
you are to enter your pigeon in an eye sign show you must breed for a
pigeon that has what that judge “thinks” is the perfect eye.
If you are racing, you breed for performance.
Like breeds like, in most cases.
If the birds that are in your loft today are the result of several
generations of top race performing ancestors you have 90% of the problem
solved. It doesn’t matter
what the eye sign of the grandfather was…if he was a winner.
When you load the gene package with winners what is this newly
hatched youngster going to draw from…genetically?
You guessed it…winners. The
probability, or at the very least the possibility, is that whatever
physical or mental traits the winning ancestors had are going to be passed
on to that pigeon. Generation
after generation of breeding top performing pigeons together can do
nothing but improve your colony.
If eye sign indeed has merit then every performance
pigeon has it. You don’t
have to look for it, he has it. Load
your gene package with performance pigeons and, if eye sign is the reason,
you have it. If eye sign is
NOT the reason, you are still covered because you are breeding from
performance stock. Give it a
try, it works.
And by the way, I did get to meet with Alex Bieche
this past weekend. He does
not want to be classified as an eye sign man.
He looks at the eye like everyone else but, in his words, the eye
is ONE of SIX things he looks for in a quality pigeon and he does NOT
agree with the eye sign “theory” of Pete Pobor.
Yet again, another example. Two
top pigeon flyers. Both
regarded by some as experts on the eye.
One only puts 1/6th value on the eye and that 1/6th
does not even agree with the other expert.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?